HAMILTON – Legislators approved a bill that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation. The law also bans age discrimination in all sectors except at work – a move that many observers criticized. The Royal Gazette newspaper said that the bill was approved after nine hours of debate.
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Scientists with the Smithsonian Institution have discovered at least one new fish species at a deep reef off Curacao while conducting a year-long project to gather data on temperature and biodiversity for monitoring climate change effects in the Caribbean.
The discovery occurred in recent weeks off the southern edge of the Dutch Caribbean island as scientists used a submarine to explore depths up to 1,000 feet. Carole Baldwin, a Smithsonian research zoologist, told The Associated Press that the team is studying 25 to 30 other specimens of fish and invertebrates collected during the trip that they believe are new species. The new blenny fish species discovered by the team was caught with other fish around 525 feet deep. It is nearly an inch long and has iridescent fins and an orange and white body. Scientists expect to return to Curacao in August to collect more specimens when they retrieve the year’s worth of data on ocean temperatures and biodiversity in the area.
PORT-AU-PRINCE – Britain reopened its embassy on June 12 after being absent for nearly a half-century, part of an effort to broaden its diplomatic and business presence in the Western Hemisphere.
The two-person mission will be housed at the Canadian Embassy in Port-au-Prince and will be headed by Steven Fisher, the British envoy to the neighboring Dominican Republic, where he will continue to live and work. Visiting British Foreign Office Minister Hugo Swire was on hand for the opening ceremony in Port-au-Prince. He also met with President Michel Martelly and other Haitian officials during a two-day trip to encourage bilateral trade and investment.
Haiti plans to open a diplomatic mission in Britain in September. Britain’s last ambassador to Haiti, Gerard Corley Smith, left the country in 1962 after being declared persona non grata by the dictator Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier.
The embassy closed in 1966, the same year that the publication of British writer Graham Greene’s novel The Comedians added to worsening tensions with its critical look at the Duvalier government and its secret police.
KINGSTON – Dominique Blake, the 400-meter runner, has been banned from the track for six years after failing a dope test. Blake tested positive last year for methyhexaneamine, a stimulant that is commonly used as a nasal decongestant and banned in competition. The Jamaica Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel handed down the ban over Blake’s positive test during Jamaica’s Olympic trials last June. She finished sixth in the 400 meters.
SAN JUAN – The government is poised to
approve a bill allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain temporary driver’s licenses.
The House of Representatives approved the bill 29-18 and the Senate and governor are expected to do so in the coming weeks. The law will go into effect a year after it is approved. The measure is already being celebrated by an estimated 150,000 immigrants from the Dominican Republic who live in Puerto Rico, along with thousands of other migrants from the Caribbean, including Haiti. The license would be issued only to those who have lived in Puerto Rico for a year and have either a passport or an embassy-issued document proving their identity. They would still have to pass the standard driving and traffic-rules tests.
U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS
CHARLOTTE AMALIE – Tony Browne, 30, a plumber, is being accused of using the Internet to coerce three female minors to engage in sexual activity. Documents filed in U.S. District Court allege Browne made contact with the girls on Facebook and persuaded them to send nude photos of themselves. Prosecutors said he then threatened to publicize the photos if they did not have sex with him. If convicted, he faces a minimum penalty of 15 years in prison.